Conrado Morales Biography

Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Nicholas Dante (DAHN-tay), born Conrado Morales, was coauthor of A Chorus Line, the longest running show in Broadway history. A Chorus Line, which documented the personal and professional struggles of Broadway dancers, was performed at the Shubert Theater 6,137 times between 1975 and 1990. Dante began his career as a dancer and hoped that his work on A Chorus Line would serve as a catalyst to a new career as a writer: “It’s the first thing I ever wrote. . . . I’ve been dancing all my life. Now I hope I can be a writer.”{$S[A]Morales, Conrado;Dante, Nicholas}

Although Dante planned to major in journalism, he dropped out of Cardinal Hayes High School at the age of fourteen because of negative reactions to his homosexuality. When he was a boy, writing in the genre of fantasy served as an outlet for his emotions, but after dropping out of school he stopped writing because he believed that a writer had to have an education. He supported himself by working as a drag queen and began studying dance. In 1965, he worked summer stock in St. Louis. The experience in summer stock encouraged him to write again; he believed he could write better material. Dante wrote two unproduced musicals: “The Orphanage” and “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” In 1968, he performed in his first Broadway show, I’m Soloman, and continued working as a dancer in the choruses of several Broadway musicals.

Dante’s work on A Chorus Line began in 1974 during two twelve-hour taping sessions of dancers recounting their life stories. During these sessions, Dante told his life story, which would become the monologue of Paul, the longest monologue in the show. Dante told how he had hidden both his homosexuality and his profession from his parents; they only knew that he worked in theater. When his parents arrived backstage at the Jewel Box Revue for a surprise visit, they found him dressed as a showgirl. Dante felt relieved when his father...

(The entire section is 808 words.)